The past six months have involved a range of purposeful discussions related to Internet Governance, concluding last week with news that the President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) proposed a Resolution containing an Outcome Document (which was adopted) on the 10-year review of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) outcomes.
The “Outcome Document” urges the need to promote greater multistakeholder participation and engagement in Internet governance discussions that should involve governments, the private sector, civil society, international organizations, the technical and academic communities, and all other relevant stakeholders.
The UNGA recognizes that the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) has played a key role as a multistakeholder platform for discussion of Internet governance issues, a reason why the decision was made to extend its mandate for another 10 years to continue to foster participation of relevant stakeholders, particularly from developing countries.
Below is a timeline of APNIC’s involvement in this review process during 2015, which ultimately helped to reach this result:
July 2015: APNIC’s EC Chair, Akinori Maemura, made a statement during the First Interactive WSIS Stakeholder Consultation Meeting held at the UN headquarters in New York. In this statement, he said:
“WSIS has been an important process. It not only gave a working definition of Internet governance, but also provided a space for dialogue, which is the IGF, and particularly a dialogue between the Internet technical community with policy-makers.”
He suggested that the key challenge for evolving the WSIS platform further is to keep this dialogue going, and to
“…evolve the WSIS platform in a way that both policy-makers and the technical community can continue to benefit from each other, prompting innovative policy decisions that can help implement the vision of the people-centered, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society.”
September 2015: APNIC co-organized a three-day meeting in Pattaya, Thailand, to gather voices from the Asia Pacific as part of a multistakeholder response to the WSIS+10 Review.
September 2015: APNIC submitted a response to the Non-Paper developed by the Co-Facilitators of the UNGA Overall Review of the WSIS, as well as a joint written submission by the Regional Internet Registries, where it stated that:
“To truly harness the potential of ICT for development, bridging the digital divide must remain as the central priority to achieve WSIS outcomes. Connectivity is a catalyst for development, however for these gains to be sustainable, we must work to maintain an open, interoperable, and stable Internet. Whether that is by addressing critical numbering issues such as IPv6 adoption or adapting to emerging challenges such as cybersecurity, it will require cooperation between actors from all stakeholder groups to achieve.”
October 2015: APNIC commented on the Zero-Draft for the UNGA Overall Review of the WSIS, which was based on the contributions submitted by a wide variety of stakeholders in the WSIS process.
November 2015: During a consultation session at the IGF in Joāo Pessoa, APNIC spoke about the importance of preserving the multistakeholder approach of WSIS, in the sense of meaningful participation, not only the involvement of different stakeholder groups.
December 2015: A new book, The Working Group on Internet Governance – 10th Anniversary Reflections is released, which Paul Wilson and I contributed to. The chapter, A critical look at critical Internet resources since the WGIG, discusses a subject that attracted intense political interest throughout WSIS and into the first five-year mandate of the IGF.
December 2015: I attended the General Assembly High Level Meeting held at the UN headquarters in New York. This allowed APNIC to fully understand the Outcome Document and to better anticipate and plan next steps with regards to the WSIS process.
The views expressed by the authors of this blog are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of APNIC. Please note a Code of Conduct applies to this blog.